For fans of wristwatches that really have some years under their belt, the picking can be slim. Prior to the sports watch revolution of the 1960s, men’s watches tended to be a good bit smaller than many modern gents prefer. One standout from the 50s is the Angelus Chronodato, a gorgeous and innovative 38mm chronograph.
Just like Universal Genève, Angelus is one of the old Swiss chronograph masters that didn't survive the Quartz Crisis. They succumbed to the changing international watch market and shuttered their factory, leaving behind some of the finest chronos of the Mid-20th century. Luckily for us, they left behind some amazing artifacts of their illustrious past, and since Angelus is only in the nascent stages of a collecting revival, the value proposition of these watches is pretty incredible.
Unlike the many Swiss brands that turned out cool looking watches by assembling quality components from multiple suppliers, Angelus was among the elite group of watchmakers who built in-house complicated chronographs decades ago. The Chronodato is one of the earliest full calendar chrono wristwatches, and like Universal Genève’s TriComapx, it proved to be popular among mid-century customers.
Angelus excelled not only at creating high quality movement, but also at designing them for the ultimate legibility. Instead of scrunching up the calendar around the center of the dial like many other brands, Angelus gave each register plenty of breathing room and arranged the day and date windows in a pleasant symmetrical layout. The date unobtrusively displayed at the outer edge of the dial, marked by a red-tipped hand.
Angelus produced the Chronodato in steel, gold and gold plate, as was popular at the time. Steel examples are by far the most desirable of the bunch, and clean examples are very hard to come by. This example is about as clean as one could hope for, and features a bright blue date track, gorgeous hands large Arabic numerals. While the dial was professionally refinished at some point in the past, it has a tremendous presence on the wrist and given the overall rarity, this sin is easily forgiven!
If you’re looking for a classic mid-century chronograph, the Angelus is an excellent choice. Few watches can match its case size, timeless design and quality of manufacture.
Steel case is approximately 38 mm (excluding crown). Manual winding, in-house Angelus movement. Circa 1950.
Overall condition: The original case is in excellent condition over all, showing normal signs of light wear from age and use. The dial was professionally refinished to a very high standard some time ago, and shows light signs of age and wear. The original hands are in excellent condition. Original pushers and crown.
Includes one brown leather strap and two 20mm Nylon Straps by Crown & Buckle.